Trainer Johnny Murtagh has revealed that Mutual Regard will go into the 2014 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 4 without a lead-up run in Australia.
Mutual Regard has not been seen at the races since he scored a tough win in the Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York on August 23, but Murtagh told Racing.Com yesterday that he was happy to keep the Hernando gelding fresh heading into ‘the race that stops a nation’.
“I think that he will go straight to the race,” Murtagh said.
“He goes well fresh, there is not a lot of him and he doesn’t take much hard work.
“He has a month to go, he has a busy month ahead of him and he has to go forward from each bit of work.
“I am just hoping I can have him in the same shape as I had him when he toweled up in the York.”
Mutual Regard has been in Australia for a week after he arrived in Melbourne with the first planeload of European-trained 2014 Spring Racing Carnival contenders and Murtagh has been happy with the way that the five-year-old has adjusted to his new environment at the International Equine Centre at Werribee.
“He has settled in very well and he is a very straight forward horse,” Murtagh said.
“He came good, lost a few kilos, but he is putting that back on now which is good.
“He seems to be nice and fresh and Ross is very happy with him.”
Mutual Regard will be making his debut at Group 1 level in the Melbourne Cup, but he has been a consistent performer in handicap events since he made his racing debut under the care of Sir Mark Prescott in 2011.
The five-year-old recorded his first race win in a handicap event over 2459 metres at Wolverhampton in October of 2012 and went on to record an additional three race wins at Lingfield, Kempton Park and Wolverhampton.
Mutual Regard recorded just one win during his 2013 racing season, but missed the placings in just one of his seven starts before returning to winning form with a win in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship European Breeders Fund Handicap (3218m) and was third in the Listed Challenge Stakes (2816m) on July 17 before taking out the Ebor Handicap.
Mutual Regard is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $26 with Ladbrokes Australia.